How I Manage Stress and Anxiety With Migraine
Taking on more than you can handle is a sure-fire way to increase your stress levels. As individuals with migraines, we often feel the pressure of letting others down when we have to cancel plans due to an episode. Consequently, we may feel compelled to do more on days when we are migraine-free. It is crucial for us to establish clear boundaries and stick to them, as if we don't take care of ourselves, we won't be able to take care of others.
Anxiety and stress can significantly contribute to migraine attacks, but it is important not to offend or trigger someone by suggesting that their migraines result from anxiety. Many migraine sufferers will attest that their migraines cause stress, not the other way around.
For years, I was in denial about the impact of my stress and anxiety levels on my migraine attacks. This ignorance caused unnecessary distress. Learn from my mistake and don't let this happen to you.
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Are you clenching your jaw as you read this? I have found that it helps to be consistently aware of the muscle tension in my jaw, neck, and shoulders. I carry a tremendous amount of stress in these areas, and by being mindful of these muscles, I can proactively address stress and anxiety as potential triggers. Remember to pause, take a breath, and focus. I personally find the Calm app to be incredibly helpful in reducing my stress and anxiety. And the best part is, it offers plenty of features even in its free version.
While yoga is an excellent method for managing stress and anxiety, it may not be suitable for everyone. If you're not a fan of yoga, there are alternatives that can be equally effective. Taking an Epsom salt bath (consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure) and using acupressure mats are two options worth exploring.
It's worth noting that not all acupressure mats are created equal. Some can be incredibly painful to lie on and should be avoided. They should provide pressure, not excruciating pain.
I understand that there are differing opinions on this next point, but I have personally found that using peppermint essential oils helps me manage my stress and anxiety. I am aware that some essential oils can trigger migraines for certain individuals, but the peppermint oil blend from Plant Therapy has been a godsend for me. I dilute it with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or coconut) and apply it to the back of my neck and temples.
Here's a riddle for you: Are you breathing correctly? Just taking a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can work wonders for your stress levels. Breathing is beneficial for everything we do, but it is often overlooked since it is a reflex for most of us.
Have you ever noticed that you tend to experience migraines on Mondays? The stress associated with starting a new week after two days of relaxation is a common trigger. I know I'm not the only one who dreads Mondays for this reason. How do you personally cope with the instant stress that comes with starting a new work week?
Consider connecting with a community of fellow migraine sufferers on Facebook. Learning, sharing, and connecting with others in our Migraine Support Community can be incredibly helpful.